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Geek Outdoor Hobbies? 163

Posted by Cliff
from the theres-a-big-world-out-there-away-from-that-monitor dept.
Embedded Geek asks: "My wife and I, in an effort to get more exercise, have recently begun geocaching, which is basically global scavenger hunt using GPS. We have also been active in the Society for Creative Anachronism and my friends are always trying to draft us into paintball. While we're having a blast with all these, I wanted to see if other slashdotters could suggest more geek style, outdoor hobbies that would appeal to a pair of pasty faced nerds like us."
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Geek Outdoor Hobbies?

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  • Laser Tag. LaserQuest, to be specific. Good cardio, lotta fun. Ranks up there with paintball on my list of favorites.
    • by sjehay (83181) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @07:12PM (#3381063) Homepage
      Hmm. Laser Quest is fun - but nowhere near as fun as paintballing. Laser Quest involves being inside buildings painted all in black and shooting at people at close range with cheesy sound effects; there's no physical aspect to it at all. Sure, it's a laugh, but it's pretty much the same all the time... Paintballing is outdoors; it involves crawling around in mud a lot in my experience :-) Still, you get much, much more of an adrenaline rush hiding with a mate behind a tree/log as millions of paintballs whistle over your heads trying to get down covering fire as teammates go for their flag, etc. - or sprinting for home through the undergrowth with The Bad Guys in hot pursuit. Much more in the way of tactics, much more in the way of teamwork, much work in the way of physical exercise.

      Laser Quest isn't as fun - but it's not anywhere near as expensive, either. After charging plenty for entry they hit you with huge bills for the ammunition as well. Ouch.
      • If you think there's no physical aspect to it, wander down for a member's night, or worse yet, a NAC team practice. NAC teams are faster and meaner than some paintball crews I'm seen. Any game you can walk out of dripping sweat with the rest of the players screaming your name, is a good one. Good quester's play like they have radar. They know what's going on around them at all times, and have some seriously quick reaction times.
        • by snack (71224)
          Hey Billn... what team are you on?

          I play... Colorado springs... well i used to, i recently moved and havent played lately.

          -Tim
  • Outdoors? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Siliconwalker (163150) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @06:38PM (#3380941) Homepage
    what is this "outdoors"?
    • OKay for some reason, this really cracked my ass up. donno why. could be a lack of sleep.
    • You've played VR games where there weren't any walls, right? Maybe with green things, and small moving life forms, some of which aren't even hostile? Well, "outdoors" is the part of Real Reality that this part of Virtual Reality was modeled on. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?
    • It's that place where the air smells funny, with the really high blue ceiling (well, sometimes it's grey, or red, or black with specks of light), and you can't see the walls...

      oh, there's a big ball of bright light there too...
    • Isn't your computer facility equipped with a big room [tuxedo.org]??

      Ian

    • Okay, let's say you're inside a castle, fragging away. You just picked up the rail gun, and you want to do some long-range shooting. Well, if you leave the castle, you come to an wide open area where oftentimes there are people not running around as much that might not notice you aiming at them from far away. Also, you'll see a sky and clouds and stuff. This is the outdoors.


    • The large doors unlock with a thudding of large electromagnetic bolts and the group huddle in the doorway at the sight of the 'Aht-Darz".

      After some moments one of the team surveys the situation with a considered critique... "Its disgusting, doesn't anyone ever clean the floors here?". True to form the floor is covered in what appears to be a complete covering of trampled months old pot noodle dinners.

      A second team member points out a rather ragged pillar which has been covered with detritus, "and look at those wireless lan antennae, disgusting!", while with much muttering comes a complaint from one of the more junior team members. "and I wish someone would turn down that awful lighting ... its far to bright".

      With that we leave our group of intrepid junior programmers to the horrors of the camping expedition.

  • Uh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cuthalion (65550) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @06:40PM (#3380949) Homepage
    If the SCA isn't geeky enough for you, just give up now.
    • If the SCA isn't geeky enough for you, just give up now.

      Well, you can seriously get into the geekier aspects of SCA, like ArtSci, and try to recreate ancient weaving techniques or calculate precisions of mideval navigation devices (a friend of mine wrote 80 pages on period holes. The kind in privys. Not the board, not the ditch - he wrote about the hole in the board. Just the hole). Or you can firewalk and find a campsite full of kindred spirits heartily singing science fiction and fantasy filksongs. Or you can always find a BDSM encampment. Knot theory is geek, last I checked. Ahem. ;) The SCA is a pretty large group, and there are metric tons of subgroups.

      --
      Evan

  • Biking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NWT (540003)
    I like mountainbiking a lot to get some time off. I is a really fun sport, but tricky and exhausting in the beginning. You'll get a really good endurance if you practise at least a 2 times a week (for about 2 hours). Besides your flexibility will improve if you ride in more difficult terrain, but it takes a while to get used to handling a mountainbike. Equipment is rather expensive if you want to have good quality bikes, but that shouldn't be the problem if you're plaing around with GPS systems out there ;)
    • Although I agree that mountain biking is a lot of fun, it doesn't have to be "tricky and exhausting in the begining". I started out "trail riding" where you're far enough off the beaten path to need something more than a 10 speed or a BMX bike.

      You could easily walk these trails but you can cover so much more distance with a bike. You end up finding things you wouldn't find walking because you never would have gotten there on foot. I'm talking about everything from the landscape to hidden streams and ponds. You can always progress to the more rugged terrain later on if you want. I do that now but more for exercise than for enjoyment.

      A decent GPS will cost you about $200-$300, whereas a decent mountain bike will cost you around $600-800. I would not suggest going to Sports Authority or similar sporting goods stores. Find a bike shop that sells decent bikes ( like Gary Fisher [fisherbikes.com], Specialized [specialized.com], Iron Horse [ironhorsebikes.com] or K2 [k2bikes.com] ). Go in knowing what the bikes cost on-line. I find that the people that work at the little bike shops know what their talking about. Also, if you can afford it, don't buy a cheap bike. Cheap mountain bikes aren't mean for really rugged terrain. It may also cost you more in the long run in maintenance.

      I plan on integrating my photography hobby in with the trail riding eventually. You can get photographs of things that most people never see.
      • by tf23 (27474)
        We did this too. Two years ago we picked up two mountain bikes (one for me, one for my wife) from our tax return.

        We've had a blast ever since. We setup a website MTBMadness [lottadot.com] (slash-based [slashcode.com]!) to put information online. We take the digital camera with us whenever we go riding, and put the pictures online.

        We've since hooked up with local mountain bike groups, as well as state-wide and multi-state, so as to go on group rides.

        It's a blast, and it will definitely get you into shape real quick. I still don't like uphill climbs, but the downhill that comes after one makes it all worth it.

  • Walking! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fm6 (162816) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @06:48PM (#3380978) Homepage Journal
    Not usually thought of as geeky, but you can make it geeky. Bring along your GPS; take notes on what you see with your Palm, which should also have downloaded maps of your stroll (though you should consider the pleasures of deliberately getting lost); record every single excurusion with a wearable cam; etc.

    Walking is extremely good for you and difficult to find excuses against. Bad weather? Just makes it more interesting.

    Walking forces you to interact on a human level. Which is either good or bad, depending on you point of view.

    • Re:Walking! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by daviddennis (10926)
      I've been trying to do this myself, and my best sessions have always been when I bring my digital camera along and take pictures. I get so absorbed in the picture-taking process I forget I'm exercising.

      Another way to get exercise is to go to a trade show of some field you're interested in, like the auto show or DV expo. You're on your feet a lot. Just watch for the absymal food [amazing.com] served at convention centers; take a break to go to a restaurant instead. (The link is to my own pictures, by the way. Camera is my spiffy Canon EOS D30 which I bought in January, shortly before the D60 came out).

      If you live in a neighborhood with comically expensive real estate, you can always check out a few land listings. They're fun to look at because you can generally wander the land at will [amazing.com] (again, my pictures, taken with my Canon XL1 MiniDV). In Los Angeles, TheMLS.com [themls.com] has land listings.

      Hope that helps.

      D
    • Also fun is to get yourself lost, then use your gps to get your back, which is good, especially as it is beginning to get dark :-)
    • Re:Walking! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Paradise Pete (33184) on Sunday April 21, 2002 @05:16AM (#3382456) Journal
      take notes on what you see with your Palm

      Day one, January 3rd The inside of my glove.
      Day two, January 4th The inside of my glove.
      Day three, January 5th The inside of my glove.
      Day seventeen, January 19th Still the inside of my glove. Man I can't wait for Spring.

      • reading with your palm eh?

        you read about pham nuwen? He could read with his palm too :)

        He had some localizers to help of course.

        B^)
    • If I can get up early enough, I usually walk to work. Not only do I get some exercise, but I don't have the hassle of searching for a parking space. I found a dried up frog once that my kids think is really cool too. The only downside are the people who defecate on the sidewalk or those who let their pets do the same and don't clean up after them.

  • Camping... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by quantax (12175) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @06:51PM (#3380988) Homepage
    It seems pretty obvious, but I think a lot of people don't realize how much fun camping really is. Before I start, let me clarify what I mean: there is camping where you bring a shitload of beer, drive to a campsite (or hike 1/4 mile to it) and proceed to get wasted. This is not camping, its partying in the forest. Try finding a local state forest that has some good hiking routes, grab a backpack, and head out for the weekend. I have gone camping with friends many times, and almost everytime there is a good tory or two to tell as a result. And BTW, do not go to one of these places where it looks like a refugee camp because of all the families camping within 15 feet of one another. Do yourself a favor and leave the laptop, palm, etc at home.
  • eXtreme Croquet (Score:2, Informative)

    by NBrooke271 (260498)
    Extreme Croquet seems like a pretty geeky fun game to me. Polymer mallet heads, machiened wickets, physics, geometery and the outdoors. The Connectuicut eXtreme Croquet Society [extremecroquet.org] has an interesing site on the subject.
  • My two favourite (summer) outdoor activities are rollerblading and paintball.

    Personally, I put my laptop into a backpack carrying case, strap on some blades and go. At about the half-way point on my normal path, there's a coffee shop with outdoor tables... buy a coffee/Pepsi/fruit juice/whatever, sit at a table and pull out the laptop. Code for a bit (or whatever computing endeavor tickles your fancy that day). When you're done, pack up the laptop again and go home. Total time is usually a few hours by the time you're done, and you can actually get some work done while you're at it, if you're so inclined.

    Paintball, naturally, is a blast. This is the time that you get back at people who blasted you in Quake... and it's much more... painful... for them. :)

    - Jester
  • Autocross (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ctr2sprt (574731)
    This doesn't really involve any exercise, but find a big parking lot that's empty on weekends and buy a bunch of traffic cones. Set up a course with the cones and do timed runs. Or if you have a truck, find an off-road course somewhere (do not just go anywhere!) and run that. There are clubs everywhere if you want to do those with other people. Most car clubs will also rent local racetracks and have "driver's ed" classes for a hundred bucks or so. Some car clubs - the BMWCCA, for example - will also get you discounts on parts at car dealers or on the purchase of a new car (really).

    Not really exercise, but it gets you out in the sun. And if your heart isn't racing by the end of your run, you're not doing it fast enough or hard enough.

    • Ok, someone else posted it first... but I'll back them up:-)

      Autocross is fun. True car racing. None of this "My car can drive in a straight line faster than your car can" BS. Autocross is about you, the driver. You don't need any special equipment, but if you want to spend time and money on your car, it'll pay off.

      Check out the SCCA [scca.org] site.
  • by FransUNC (518475) <scott@@@scottfrans...com> on Saturday April 20, 2002 @07:07PM (#3381047) Homepage
    Being geek is a state of mind, it's not a seperate entity or anything. I love outdoors, and I do a lot of outdoors-y stuff, like climbing, camping, fording rivers and creeks, hiking, etc etc...

    At the same time, when I'm indoors, I'm constantly into gadgets and computers and other electronic stuff. But I would probably be insulted if someone labeled me as a geek.

    My point is, don't think of it from a "geek" perspective. I don't consider myself one, and I don't want to be considered as one, but that doesn't prevent me from reading slashdot and tweaking my computer constantly. Don't let being a geek prevent you from playing football or rock climbing or even sunbathing. Be proud to be a geek. But don't be too proud to have fun.
    • Being a geek is a state of mind. It often manifests itself with geeky behavior.

      Personally I'm proud and secure with my geekyness. I make no effort to hide the handful of little electronic gadgets I carry around everywhere. I consider being called a geek to be a compliment and would probably be insulted if someone said I wasn't one.

      You're thinking of 'geek' as a stereotype (skinny kid with taped glasses and no fashion sense who walks around talking in computerese), not a state of mind (someone who embraces technology in everyday life further than usual). Nowhere does it say that geeks can't participate in non-geeky activities, simply most geeks choose not to. And I've been up for about 30 hours so if this post makes little sense please ignore it.
  • disc golf (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tps12 (105590) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @07:36PM (#3381140) Homepage Journal
    You might give disc golf a shot. It's cheap to get into, pretty good exercise (as golf goes), and exposes you to nature, which is fun. There are courses all over, so check out the directory [pdga.com] to find one near you. Most people try it out with normal frisbees before investing in real golf discs.

    Oh, relaxed is the name of the game also. It is not unusual to see beer drinking and pot smoking on the course and in the parking lots, though this obviously varies a lot course to course

    • Bring a plastic bag with you, and pick up some trash as you play.

      Keep your courses clean!
    • If you want to try disc golf, do yourself a favor spend the ten bucks and get a real golf disc. If there is anywind at all you will thank yourself, plus you'll drive better, enjoy the game more and score better with a real golf disc.

      Word of advice, leave the pot and beer at home, drink water you'll enjoy the game more and avoid the wrath of other players...
    • Maybe it's not as passive as disc golf, but lots of geeks still play Ultimate Frisbee. Most people have never played it until they get to college, and, as such, it's a very beginner-oriented sport. If you ever see people playing in a park, they're usually more than happy for you to join in, even if you've never played before.

      It does involve some running, but it's non-contact and fun as hell. In fact the most important rule in the game is for it to be well-spirited (and fun). Also, many tournaments involve some wicked partying =)

      If you're interested in learning more, try:
      What is Ultimate? [whatisultimate.com]
      The Ultimate Handbook [ultimatehandbook.com]
      or find a team near you. [rochester.edu]
  • by pknut (571294)

    Cycling is a great way to stay fit. There are some pretty beefy hills near why I live in the UK. There's nothing better than spending a day blasting down slopes. Strangely enough, pulling yourself to the top of the hill is just as exilarating.

    Much fun can be had trying to push yourself as hard as possible on a downhill. All you really need is a speedo. And you get the added benefit of being able to boast that you hit 37 mph on a rocky downhill :)

    I've taught myself to use a map if/when the hillfog comes in, but a GPS is always added insurance. And it has the added benefit of allowing you to plot the route that you took.

    I find that cycling is a great way to boost fitness levels, and get some proper sunlight exposure, instead of the crappy monitor tan ;) I also find that I spend ages tuning my bike, which gets me away from my computer.

  • I joined the Army and I leave for basic training on May 15th, so I have to get in shape. I've been running, doing pushups and pullups, and in the last week I've been swimming every day.

    I had to take swimming lessons, because I didn't know what I was doing. It took a few days to get used to the breathing, but now it's not very hard. Now I think it's the absolute best and funnest workout that there is.

    Before I started swimming, I could run two miles in about 0:17:22. But after swimming all week, just yesterday I ran two miles in 0:16:16, and it was EASY. Swimming is a miracle workout.
  • Pig sticking

    ;-)
  • I enjoy getting out on the snowmobile in the winter and fourwheeler in the summer. They don't give you the exercise level many other activities will give you, but it at least gets you out doors and seeing nature while having a blast and you would be suprised how much exercise you do actually get.

    Both are very cost prohibitive though. You're looking into just under $10,000 (and even above) for a fourwheeler or a snowmobile. And that doesn't even include all the other stuff you need.
  • Road Cycling (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mduell (72367) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @08:27PM (#3381287)
    Buy a decent pair of roadbikes (or a tandem) and ride as much as you can. Runner's high is an amazing thing after 5 hours in the saddle.
    • Bicycling is for people who are motivated, physically coordinated, and whose deepest desire is to have a cardiovascular system tougher than vulcanized rubber. Hardly a geeky pursuit (excuse the pun).
      • Re:Not Geeky Enough! (Score:2, Interesting)

        by panker (461977)
        Actually I have found cycling to be way geeky enough. Mount a GPS on the handlebars (Garmin eTrex works great) or just a standard cycling computer and there you go. Not to mention all the stuff you can buy for a bike! widgets galore.
      • You obviously haven't met any bike geeks. When I lived in Palo Alto two of the best bike shops in the country were there and they were a bit hit with the geek population. Google HQ is/was very nery to Palo Alto bikes.

        Many bike geeks will spend as much time putting exotic parts on their bikes as computer geeks spend making an clear plastic case with a blacklight or OCing.

        Disclaimer: I am both a bike geek and a computer geek.

        • It is a well-known fact that bicyclists have tans, physical endurance, low fat-weight ratios, and many other characteristics that are totally incompatible with the True Concept of Geekiness! They try to make up for it by wearking geeky helmets, but that's just a ploy! As are computerized bicycles and little home-make gearshift-efficiency charts!

          Maybe I'm just bigoted because of all the times I've nearly been run over by bicyclists. Not just in Palo Alto (where they're allowed to ride on the sidewalks!) but in nearby towns as well. Yell "crosswalk!" or "stop sign!" at them and they just give you the finger. Obvious acolytes of Satan the Yuppie!

          • When I lived in Palo Alto the sidewalks on Univeristy Ave. said, "No Bikes" right on the sidewalk itself. It was spraypainted on each corner. Now, if you are confusing Stanford with Palo Alto, then yes, if you are a pedestrian you had better realize that you are taking your life into your own hands. I back when James Stockdale was Ross Perot's running mate I nearly ran him over near Green Library. If he had simply kept walking it would have been fine, but he spotted me and "tried" to avoid me. Nearly ended in trajedy. :)
        • Re:Bike Geeks! (Score:2, Informative)

          by wobbegong (305760)
          If you want to get _really_ geeky you can always start riding the wierd bikes too. Recumbents, Tandem, Tricycles (or any combination of the above) all add to the variation - and there's nothing quite like following a recumbent tandem trike to realise how much road prescence a 4' wide, 15' long HPV can have.

          Also have a look at the serious end of Human Powered Vehicles for extreme geekiness. Some of the latest speed machines don't have windows - you use a fibre optic camera to a flat-screen display on the handlebars as that improves the aerodynamics.

          At the other end you have the Minnesota groups who race ice bikes on the frozen stuff up there every winter and keep it at the reclaimed scrap end of technology (but with just as much innovation when it comes to finding something that will grip on ice...)

          Lots of stuff on the geeky end of bicycling at http://www.ihpva.org
          A UK based magazine on the wider aspects of cycling around the world is Velovision
          http://www.velovision.co.uk

          There's even people who ride unicycles off-road (Muni - mountain unicycle - they call at) and a US company, Haluzak, who have been making off-road recumbents for years.

          For interesting extras I've had on my bikes over the years the Air Zound (120 Db+ air horn - pumped up by a bike pump) and the Mountain Drive (extra low gears contained in the bottom bracket - really does let you haul heavy loads up mountains) are my favorites.

  • Get a nice decent quality mtn bike (around 300$) and use it any time you would normally drive within 5 miles of your house. I started doing this in college, and it's a very efficent way to stay in shape.

    I wouldn't try to do more than 2 miles a day if your really out of shape, but if you bike regularly you will be able to do 30+ miles really quickly. It's my favorite type of exercise, and it's quit fun. I normally only have to use my car every 2 or three days, or when I am in a rush.
  • Not terribly geeky, but I climb all the time, and its amazing how fast it gets you in shape. Or at least builds up your arms. And its definately got that "I'm going to figure out how to get past this" mentality.
  • Gun games like IPSC [uspsa.org] or IDPA [idpa.com] are full of geeks. There is plenty of cool equipment to tinker with. And while it takes years to master, once you know a few simple safety rules almost anyone can enjoy it.

    If you want something a little less politically incorrect, there are always the service rifle [odcmp.com] competitons put on by the Civilian Marksmanship Program and the NRA [nrahq.org].
  • Lots of things! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RevAaron (125240) <revaaron@h o t m a il.com> on Saturday April 20, 2002 @09:22PM (#3381437) Homepage
    Call me crazy, but just because I'm a geek, it doesn't mean I have to be some lazy tard that can't do anything but drink coffee and read 'blogs.' Maybe I'm abnormal, but I do things outside of using a computer.

    I camp. I walk a lot. I bike a lot. I go take naps in the woods. I garden. I hike. I program on my iBook or my iPAQ (with Squeak) while sitting in the woods, having had to hike a few miles to get to a nice place to sit.

    For the biking and walking, I don't go out of my way to do it. It's just part of the way I live. When there's not snow on the ground, it's my main method of getting around. I suppose that's not possible if you're living in some gigantic post-apocalyptic hell hole, though.

    And for the other things, I live in a very green town, with lots of nice big parts and a sanctioned green-belt, so taking naps in the woods isn't extraordinary. Just a way of life. :)

    Now, I suppose some people really strive for their activities to be labeled as something a 'geek' would do, trying to live that 'cool' middle school clique feeling that they may have missed out on the first time around. Can't say I identify with that, but to each her own.

    So, I suppose you could make the above activities 'geeky' by bringing a PDA and doing something useful with it. If you're not going to do something useful with it, however, do yourself a favor and leave it at home.

    For instance, I'll write a bunch of code on my iPAQ. May not be as practical for others, but the programming environment I use on my desktop is the same one I use on my PDA, so code flows back and forth easily, and I can work on the same problems as if I were at my desk. Some people think it's some disgrace to "Nature" to program in the middle of a forest. Frankly, I find it beautiful and peaceful. Especially after a mind-clearing hike. And it sure beats being stuck inside on a beautiful spring day!

    Most importantly- have fun!
  • by Raetsel (34442) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @09:22PM (#3381445)

    Check out The Degree Confluence Project [confluence.org]

    Since most of the easily accessible locations have been photographed already, getting a 'new' point on the map (one that hasn't been visited or attempted) will require a significant period of interface with a non-virtual world.

    It'll even exercise your diplomatic interpersonal skills, as some of the 'attempted' sites are on reservations -- since they're a sovereign nation, they can require permits for a visit. Heck, even getting onto private land can be interesting.

    • ( i.e.
    • "You want to do WHAT? Yeah, right buddy! What are you really here for??? )
    Fortunately, there is a form letter [confluence.org] that you can print and take with you to convince the skeptical.

    ( Personally, I'd love to do some of the sites in Montana [confluence.org]. )

  • Reminds me of a great Aislin cartoon. There's a couple on the beach having a picnic. He brought some gear with him.

    He: Lovely! Our CD & stereo system, portable television, cell phone and portable fax, personal stock ticker and thou. What more could one want?

    She: A power failure.
  • by Llama Keeper (7984) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @10:20PM (#3381604) Homepage
    As an avid outdoorsman, (I rock climb, mountainbike, kayak (tour and whitewater), backpack, and love to take outdoor photographs) my biggest bitch is people who bring radios, laptops, cell phones and shit outdoors. Most of us who spent lots of time outdoors do it to escape and get away from the damn call phone and people in general. Please, when you are out enjoying the outdoors leave your friggin electronics and shit at home and try roughing it.

    If you feel the need to bring a radio or something have the decency to keep it turned down and stay the F*ck away from other people.

    I recently went on a 70 mile river flaot trip and the experience was lessened by some damn collge kids with a radio and the audacity to camp like 100 feet from us. We had a hell of a good time sneaking up to their camp site at laughing as they made dinner... what a riot

    Please leave your toys at home or figure out how to keep them from being noisy, I go to the wwods to get away not listen to your damn electronics... and I am a serious geek during the week.

    • The NY Times had an article about people bringing their cell phones onto the trail. I threw up a mention of it, check it out here [lottadot.com].

      I can understand wanting to have it packed away in your gear for emergencies, people just need to turn the ringer off or turn the phone off while they're out.

  • I get outdoors and play cricket.

    It's not always a lot of excersise but standing in in a field waiting for a ball to come your way is very relaxing and strangly peaceful.

    For fitness there is always indoor cricket but that's a different story...
  • by Lancer (32120) on Sunday April 21, 2002 @01:57AM (#3382114) Homepage
    Radio Control airplanes are a lot of fun. Lots of cool gear (you should see some of the computerized radios [futaba-rc.com] available), gets you a tan (but with minimal exertion), and can fulfill your "need for speed".

    My wife and I also took up kite flying together. Before you envision some sedate, lazy, K-Mart delta kite flying (though that can be fun as well), we're flying stunt kites, such as these [prismkites.com] or these [revkites.com]. Some of these are made of fairly exotic materials for extremely light weights, while others pull like trucks. It's even possible to go for a ride with them - three-wheel trikes and hard-pulling kites make for some fast trips across beaches and dry lakebeds [sbbb.net].

    Hope this piques your interest!

    • I agree totally.

      I fly R/C Sailplanes, and this is great not only for getting outdoors, but also involves (If you so choose) a fair bit of theoretical work (Aerodynamics, structures, etc), _and_ getting your hands dirty with building (Either wood, or for the fancy stuff, carbon fiber, kevlar, etc.). Also some electronics and software (if you use one of the neat computerized radios). And can fulfil the _need_for_speed_.
      (The world speed record for R/C sailplanes is around 390 Km/h -- 243 mph).

      Check Here [gliderking.com] for some info.
      • R/C gliders are definitely a geek sport. And with the new EPP (Expanded Polypropylene) gliders, you can get started without all the nasty balsa stuff. And, your first "landing" won't send you back to the shop for weeks.

        And then there is Dynamic Soaring, where you can reach ungodly speeds (100 mph is routine). And don't forget slope combat, for you Quake playing folks... intentional mid-air collisions: yee haw!

  • Went for variety (Score:2, Informative)

    by Baloo Ursidae (29355)
    I've been an Asst. Scoutmaster for my Scout troop for a little over 2 years now, since I turned 18 and couldn't be a Scout any more. It gets me outside, rock climbing, camping, boating, and a lot of other cost prohibitive or hard to get to activities. highly recommended for former Scouts or for someone willing to put forth a bit of elbow grease..
  • I'm not kidding!

    -iie1195
  • My SO and I love to SCUBA dive, and part of the joy is the toys! We both have wireless dive computers, so we can download our dive data, graph it, analyze it, post it to the web if we were so inclined. Plus, we have underwater photography equipment, and there's numerous SCUBA-tech-toys we don't have, like the masks with wireless mikes and speakers that would let us chat while diving. If you start small and work your way up, SCUBA's not very expensive. Or, if you have $3K to $5K to blow, you can go whole hog and be tekked out all at once.

    Hiking (or "taking the digital camera and GPS for a stroll" if you prefer) is another favorite. Four-wheeling and boating are other favorites that allow us to get before-during-after geekiness in (generating custom maps, GPS, digital camera). We also enjoy gardening (geek toys: self-installed programmable automatic watering system, digital camera again, and we're working on "bird feeder cams").

    Of course, some of what we get out of all this is that there are perfectly interesting non-geeks to meet (I have the digital photos to prove there really are non-geeks in the world!).

  • by codexus (538087) on Sunday April 21, 2002 @05:57AM (#3382509)
    The sun will burn your face with its UV radiation. In this season, you might get pollen poisoining too. And worst of all, you might actually meet real people! (you know, the strange kind that just stares at you when you want to discuss the merits of the preemptive linux kernel).

    And if these aren't enough to convinve you. Think about all the things you can do with your computer instead of wasting time "outdoors".
  • Figures. (Score:5, Funny)

    by JediTrainer (314273) on Sunday April 21, 2002 @09:16AM (#3382793)
    59 comments and nobody states the obvious. You have a wife and you want exercise.

    What about sex? It can be done indoors or out in a variety of locations and positions, in private or in public (depends on how bold you are I suppose), and is very good for your health. You'd get your daily heart-rate boost, in addition to improving your married life (your relationship with your wife).

    And you'll make virtually the entire /. population jealous and horny just for mentioning it.
    • 'was a bit distracted to get back to you sooner and... oh my... I was going to say that we appreciate your comment and ...um... I meant to say that we... gotta catch br-breath... I'd meant to just... no, don't spill that on the keyboard... We'd wanted to say thst your suggestion made... oh my!!

      Look, I'll get back to you later when we're not, er, busy. (*GRINS SHEEPISHLY*) Thanks for the comment, though.

  • Go do a Hash Run, the main activity of the Hash House Harriers [gthhh.com]. They're a self described 'drinking group with a running problem...' and there are local chapters world-wide.

    Around here, a hash run is a 4 mile (give-or-take) hounds-and-hare run, that can go through woods, neighborhoods, office parks, fields, etc., usually w/ just enough time to rest if you're not one of the strong running front-runner types. There are usually a couple of beer breaks (with non-beer too, if that's your thing). It's a pretty geeky, very fun crowd. So go find a local chapter [gthhh.com] and go for a run.

    On-on!!
    -Bill

  • Sailing! (Score:2, Informative)

    by cleancut (16625)
    Sailing is plenty geeky. I mean really now, you're powering a craft by wind. There are tons of details you constantly have to consider. Geeks love details, and they love to think.

    Should you need exercise, sail on a Hobiecat. On a windy day, it feels like you're going fast, and trust me, when you're leaning out over the water hanging from your trapiese you're getting tons of exercise.

    While Hobie's are cool, they're not designed for beginners. A sunfish is great fun learning. Should you want exercise, flip it intentionally. Sunfishes are near trivial to right, and pretty fun boats to sail. (For those who don't know, a sunfish is a tiny sailboat which can reasonably accomodate one or two people for an afternoon.)
    • Sailing's cool, but if you want a more exciting and hi tech gearhead experience - try windsurfing. Modern gear is fast and easy to use and more versatile than in the past.

      Just like sailing there are a lot of different forces to balance, so an understanding of vectors, moments and aerodynamics really helps.

      One word of advice though - get professional lessons!
  • get your self a raft (with frame and cooler), kyak (hardshell or inflateable). Find a river and go on a 2 day float. Pick a strech of river that you can handle.

    Float for a day then find a place to camp. Play with your gps, laptop, palm, digital camera.... (gonna need a dry bag or pellican case.) sleep. Repeat until you are at destintaion...

  • What about Airsoft? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jahalme (563074) on Sunday April 21, 2002 @04:06PM (#3383963) Homepage
    A couple of my friends and I have found airsoft to be a very nice way to have fun and get some excercise at the same time. This hobby is _very_ popular in Japan, but has recently started gaining momentum in Europe and America as well.

    The basic nature of airsoft is quite similar to that of paintball - one team must, using a gun shooting non-lethal ammunition, either eliminate the opposing team or accomplish a pre-defined objective. The main differences of airsoft are the facts that airsoft guns shoot 6mm plastic BBs that do not leave paint marks and that the guns are extremely accurate replicas of actual firearms. Because the plastic BB is not as volatile as a paintball, airsoft guns are capable of fully-automatic fire - some at a rate of over 1200rd/min! Also, because the plastic BB is relatively light (usually 0.2g) and the muzzle velocity is usually at around 100m/sec (~300fps), they are quite safe to use in close quarters combat - paintballs tend to make very ugly welts when shot from close distance.

    From a geek's point of view, the above facts introduce some very interesting elements. The realistic appearance of airsoft guns gives incredible opportunities to simulate situations in computer games and movies! Have you ever wanted to pull two H&K MP5Ks underneath a long black jacket and blast away? Or jumpdodge over a sofa, firing with two Berettas and grinning like a maniac? How about some live-action Rainbow Six? The possibilities are endless!

    At least here in Turku, Finland, the local players get together every week to play short games with simple objectives, such as defending a building/hill/other location, planting/defusing a bomb or just plain capture the flag. Every summer there are some bigger games with a more complicated scenario and up to 200 players in some cases. Some games even introduce some light role-playing elements to the game for additional realism and atmosphere.

    There is plenty of information about airsoft on the net, but here are a few pointers to get you started;
    Ilendil's airsoft page [saunalahti.fi]
    Arnie's Airsoft [arniesairsoft.co.uk]
    AirsoftZone [airsoftzone.com]

  • Orienteering involves the use of detailed topo maps and a compass. Get lost and find your way!

    Nothing makes a hobby fun like the risk of death.
  • by randombit (87792) on Sunday April 21, 2002 @07:07PM (#3384486) Homepage
    Walk around the city (assuming you live in a city). Find free stuff sitting in trash cans or whatever. Take it home. You walk a bunch, and when you find something, you get a little bit of weight training (if it's something sizable).

    It's low impact, and you can smoke while you're doing it (so maybe it's not really too good for me after all...)

    Just last night I brought home a new coffee table.
  • Outside I rollerblade. Not a large investment and easy to get the hang of. It's very simple and calming. Inside I play a lot of pool. I'm not talking about shooting the shit and drinking with your buddies. I am talking about being serious, thinking about shots too much, and playing to win. Lots of thinking involved for those that always need something on their mind.
  • Urban Exploration (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fliplap (113705) on Sunday April 21, 2002 @10:48PM (#3385141) Homepage Journal
    One of the more interesting activities out there is what they call Urban Exploration. The problem a lot of people have with exercise is that its soooo boring. When you go exploring its just like walking, running and climbing but there's stuff to look at. The basic idea is exploration of urban ruins, for example: old subways, abandoned factories, and abandoned amusment parks.

    Check out Infiltration Magazine [infiltration.org] for more ideas
    I find, lacking all that, even office parks late at night can be fun, or pool hoping. There's a lot of exercise to be had if you're curious :-)
    Also of course check out Google's results [google.com] for Urban explorations, have fun and be safe tho!
  • It seems odd but almost all of the friends that I road bike, mountain bike, kayak, ski, and climb with are programmers and engineers. I met all of them through the sports so don't say that we're just a bunch of geeks from work pretending to ski. It may, however, explain why I can't stand the latest round of kids who do all this _extreme_ crap. Some of them are good. I won't take that away from them, but some are not. Some are just lucky and stupid. It makes me sad when people see something like whitewater kayaking as nothing but hurling yourself off 60' waterfalls. What they are missing is the complexity of the sport. It's like chess in a way. You look at a long stretch of nasty water and consider all the possible lines through it. Then you disect each move and its consequense. You add up all the risks, all the possible alternatives if something goes wrong and you decide if it's worth doing. If it is, then you memorize the moves and execute (sometimes after a visit to the woods). That's what this stuff is about. Yea, there's adrenalin and yea there's fear but it's a lot more complex than that.
  • Poker is about the geekest non-computer game outside of D&D that I can think of. All the math involved with judging the pot odds and expectations and # of outs you have gives any geek an advantage. I especially love playing it with my friends, because I can then try to apply what I know about their personalities to how they're playing their game. That and we're all pretty equally mediocre at it. If you haven't seen it, rent "Rounders." It's a kick ass movie and will get you really pumped to play some hold 'em. Plus it's got Ed Norton and John Malkovitch, two amazing actors. It's also got Matt Damon, but he's actually palatable.
  • The goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. The pictures and and the stories behind the pictures are then be posted for all to enjoy.
  • Not necessarily an outdoor activity and not ostensibly geeky, cultivating a yoga practice is one of the smartest things you can do.

    By practicing yoga you will:
    • Reverse the effects of the slouched posture that your body learns while hunching in front of a computer for 8+ hours/day
    • Learn the body awareness necessary to allow you to automagically sense and release tension in your body throughout the day
    • Increase your lung capacity and improve your breathing so that you are more oxygenated throughout the day
    • Avoid or lessen the effects of RSI
    • Develop strength and flexibility to make your body more resistant to injury
    • Discover the ability to live in the present moment

    I like to practice outdoors but it's sometimes difficult to find a peaceful outdoor space without bugs, sand, etc... Good luck.

  • Serious, try to design and build an air cannon (Pumpkin Chuckin and smaller), see who can launch a piano, bowling ball, outhouse, etc, the furthest with a home made contraption. I put together an air cannon that put a 25 cent gumball thru a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood just to see if I could. I built the air valve. For a good challange, see who can launch a raw egg the furthest without it breaking (until it lands) using something home made. Getting the best acceleration without overstressing the shell wins.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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